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My Great-Grandfather, John DuBell was a colorful man and we are still striving to find the truth of his journey to America!

My grandfather, Alexander “Alec” DuBell was the first generation born in America in his paternal family… his father; John DuBell came here in 1864/69 from The Netherlands. He bought farmland in Franklin Parish, Louisiana and raised a family there.

The stories are:
1. He was “Shanghaied” by a “press gang” in Amsterdam and made to work on a schooner going back and forth across the Atlantic from there to New Orleans. The story goes that he “jumped ship” in New Orleans
after one such trip after which he made his way up river(?) and found a wife etc.
2. He was from a family who were said to be linen merchants and had their own “Schooners”. The story goes that he was a stowaway on one of the schooners or was working on it and and “jumped ship” in New Orleans, it isn’t known if he spent any time in New Orleans or immediately began traveling, eventually living in the Catahoula/Franklin parish area of Louisiana.
3. He came to America, we have no idea through what port, New Orleans? Houston? He made his way to the Franklin/Catahoula Parish area of Louisiana. There is some mention that he spent some time in Franklin County, Mississippi before settling in Louisiana.

There is one other story I have heard over and again is one of a letter from The Netherlands that arrived in Wisner, Louisiana. My grandfather could not read Dutch he was to get someone possibly a neighbor, to interpret it for him but it has been lost. What it was about, we have no idea.

In the late 1990’s, after years of research for a JOHN DUBELL and coming up with nothing, I found a cousin who had been working on our lines and had hired a Genealogist in The Netherlands in the 1960’s. He found a “John DuBell” in the records there but his name there was Anthonie Jan DuBell. Using that and the following he concluded that our John DuBell and his Anthonie Jan DuBell were one and the same man.

The transcription of his Naturalization papers states:
"Personally came before me the inv--- authority John duBell who being duly sworn declares and says it is his time and bonifide intention to become a citizen of the United States...". They transcribed it as:
"Personally came before my the inv--- Anthony John duBell who being sworn in...".
You can see how mistakes can be made, especially back in the 1960's when documents may have not been as clear as they are now. (Image of the document is in my photo album under documents, maybe you can tell me what you read it as saying?) If you look at it you can see how it was mistaken. Then when you look at his signature he signed it John DuBell very clearly, not Anthony John DuBell. With this translation error the Genealogist in Holland came the conclusion of the following...

Anthonie/Anthonji Jan DuBell changed his name, age, and religion when he came here. This researcher gave the family tree back 4 generations farther than John DuBell! That pedigree chart goes back through The Netherlands and into Germany/The Land of Hessen in the 1750’s. My cousin and the genealogist made these conclusions with the information and data available at that time and place. With the advent of the Internet and the explosion of data coming from churches, courthouses, family bibles, and a host of other databases it was unfortunately disproven. The Anthonie/Anthonji Jan Dubel found in Holland has now been proven to have never left his homeland and traveled to America, disavowed his birth country, naturalized here, raised a family and subsequently died and was buried here. He was in fact a citizen of the Netherlands his entire life and died there February 13, 1883 in Ultrechts Province. Which is exactly the same man the researcher found... the death record records Anthonji' Jan's parents as the same, Anthonji Dubel and Hendrika van Beek. We all wanted this man to be our ancestor so very badly!

I had posted this information on Ancestry.com and though the pedigree chart I posted had erroneous information on the DuBell family in it, we did find who we think is a cousin! Even with no documentation we feel we are tied somewhere! He lives in Canada now and his mothers maiden name is Dubell! *G* I am now in the process of uploading my corrected family tree that has more then 400 LESS people on it than it did. At least it is correct as far as I know, at this moment in time! If you come across someones Family tree one day and find it has errors, please give that person a chance to tell you how they came to those conclusions before getting angry... they may have also thought the information was absolutely correct as I did. We meant no harm when we posted it! Well, most of us wouldn't!

What we know now to be true, as well as we can believe!

Name: John DuBell
My great grand father John DuBell came to America around 1868 accordig to census records.

He married Josephine C. Barr on October 20, 1874 at Stafford’s Landing, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. There is a possibility of Native American heritage on her side of the family; I have no proof of that at all, only family lore. No idea of what tribe it may have been.

He was Naturalized on December 20th 1885 in Franklin Parish Courthouse in Louisiana. His name is recorded as John DuBell and signed “John du Bell”.

I have his date of birth as June 1837 from Census records and it is there where he tells the Enumerator his place of birth is Holland or Europe with a time line of 1864 to 1869. He is listed in the Louisiana Census for years 1900 and 1910 but not 1920.

I've been told he attended the local Baptist Church. It was probably the same church that his son was a deacon of for many years, South Central Baptist Church, Wisner, Louisiana.

Their children were born between 1875 and 1900, there were also 2 stillborn babies. His son, Alexander William DuBell or William Alexander DuBell is my grandfather; I found his name recorded both ways in records.

I have a date of death of 1917 but no death certificate or other documentation

There were/are so many unanswered questions… and we thought we had answers to some of them and now we are back to the beginning, 1868.

So, we come to the big questions…

Why did he come to America?

Why did John DuBell cut off all communication with his family in The Netherlands?

How did he get here/what port and or city?

Who was his family in the Netherlands?


If he did change his religion, was he Lutheran in Holland? Or?

Who is/was my great grandfather?

There are stories of how great he was, strong, compassionate, loving, giving… but as for his life before 1868? Nothing!

Thanks for reading this and if you have suggestions I'll be happy to hear them!

[I posted this last week as a first Blog on Blogspot.com, now I'm thinking it is better to "Blog" here and I've changed a few things, not much though! I'm trying to decide what the best thing is to do! I'm sorry if I've made a big mistake, please forgive me as a total novice! Thanks, Lisa]

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